One of our tipsters forwarded to us an email put out by Pat Clouden of the Concerned Businessmen's Association of Tampa Bay, which is a ringing endorsement for candidate John Funk in the upcoming March 13 election for Clearwater city council members.
"There is one guy running who we really like. We've met him and he is a like-minded fellow who would be awesome for Clearwater City Council Seat 5. His name is John Funk," the email says.
Well, that's nice, but Mr. Funk is apparently a bit of a longshot. As Tampa Bay Times reporter Tracey McManus explained last week, he's a political newcomer who is trying to unseat a popular incumbent, Hoyt Hamilton, and he has some dodgy things on his record.
January 26 - 2018:
David Love radio interview clips about Scientology's Narconon application to operate a Narconon centre on the site of an old school in the centre of Ballivor, Ireland.
2017-01-26, Chris Shelton, Critical Thinker at Large
Hey everyone. I'm back and this week, I really mean this when I say we have a fascinating chapter for you. In fact, never have I been so appropriately dressed for the occasion. As with every video in this series, we are taking on a new chapter of this book, Scientology, edited by James R. Lewis and featuring academics writing about Scientology. So far, whether they have been sociologists, psychologists or religious studies professors, Lewis managed to gather together a group of people who have favorable ideas about destructive cults like Scientology and whether he meant to or not, he put together a book of apologetics about it. However, this week we truly do have something so different and unique from what has come earlier, I honestly wonder if it somehow slipped into this book by accident.
Chapter 19 is called "'His name was Xenu. He used renegades...': Aspects of Scientology's Founding Myth" and it is beefy. I'd actually been looking forward to reading this academic analysis of the famed OT III Xenu story since I started this book. I am very happy to report that of everything I've read here so far, this is the first chapter where no bias comes into play. This is not apologetics nor is it anti-cult preaching. In other words, somehow a real academic paper made it in here.
For anyone who has watched South Park or read even casually about Scientology, you know that there is this famous mythology created by L. Ron Hubbard about a galactic overlord named Xenu and there are spaceships and volcanos and dead spirits and all sorts of fun things and that Scientologists are crazy for believing any of it. Well, if you want a more nuanced and detailed account of what this whole thing is really all about, keep watching. There's a lot to cover, so we're gonna just dive right in.
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Previously, Phil Jones revealed the location of his newest "Call Me" anti-disconnection billboard in Los Angeles that will call attention to the Church of Scientology's practice of splitting up families.
Phil and his wife Willie can't see their own two grown children, Mike and Emily Jones, because they are Sea Org workers and their parents were "declared suppressive persons," which is Scientology's way of saying that they've been named enemies of the church and must be avoided by other Scientologists, even their own kids, who have "disconnected" from them. Last year, Phil and Willie raised money to put up billboards asking Scientologists to defy disconnection and call their loved ones — one in Los Angeles, the other in Largo, Florida near Scientology compounds.
Phil and Willie once again have crowdfunded enough money that they're going to post their billboard just blocks from two key Scientology facilities in Los Angeles. And now we have a date — Phil says the contract he's signed is for February 13, but it usually takes a day or two for the sign to go up.
2016-01-26, Chris Shelton, Critical Thinker at Large
This is a bonus interview I'm posting on top of my regularly scheduled content. I actually did this interview with Shane Weightman last year and have been waiting for the right time to post it and circumstances have made that time right now.
Interviews with other former Scientologists provide a more balanced approach than just listening to me. In addition, I'm hoping that existing Scientologists will potentially hear some of these interviews and maybe relate to some of the experiences these people describe and start questioning what is going on around them.
Unlike the first two interviews I've done, this time our interviewee is a second generation Scientologist, meaning he was born into a family of Scientologists. Not only that, but Shane's parents were actually members of the Sea Organization.
Australian television journalist Bryan Seymour posted something interesting to his Facebook page yesterday, so we asked him for the back story.
Here's what he sent us.
Every few months a letter or email arrives at the Seven Newsroom, accompanying a glossy publication with the title Freedom.
2016-01-26, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Another bizarre cow pie just landed splat in my inbox....
And as with everything else in scientology, the goalposts area moving target. Today's news may or may not be completely at odds with what was said yesterday, but the sheeple never seem to notice.
The last announcement about the world's largest ideal org was that LA Org held that distinction. Guess not. At least not for this week.
A former top official of the Church of Scientology says he ordered Nicole Kidman's phones to be tapped at the suggestion of Tom Cruise and church head David Miscavige.
Former Scientologist Mark "Marty" Rathbun, a member of the church for many years and a key aide to Miscavige, makes the allegations in an explosive new documentary, "Going Clear: Scientology & The Prison of Belief," which debuted here Sunday at the Sundance Film Festival.
2015-01-26, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
I am late to the party with my thoughts about Alex Gibney's Going Clear The Prison Of Belief, not being as diligent as Tony Ortega, who despite NOT being a "former Scientologist" nevertheless has the work ethic of a dedicated Sea Org member.
There are numerous media accounts of the film and the premiere and I will not try and recount everything, because I don't want to spend hours rehashing what has already been said by others. And frankly, nobody else's take on the movie is going to have the same meaning to you as you will get when you have the opportunity to see it. Which is itself high praise, as this movie is layered and while it packs the punch of a sledgehammer, it is also extremely subtle and a lot of things contained within it will strike chords, but probably no two the same. I can tell you that Marc Headley was not the only one who cried during the movie. I think ANYONE who has been in or effected by the church is going to have some moist-eyed moments.
I told Alex after watching it that I felt he had done the subject great justice, that if I had started with a clean slate I could not have come close to achieving what he had done. And that I appreciated the fact that he made each person who is featured in the film empathetic. Of course, there are plenty of things in there that are embarrassing to me to see in hindsight, including my participation in We Stand Tall (anyone who knows me knows I can neither sing nor dance — and I no longer wear ugly sweaters). But it is so easy to simply leave the viewer with the impression that former scientologists are "kooks" or "dupes" or "bitter haters." It's been done plenty of times in the past, along with the easy sensationalist grabs of celebrities or Xenu. Alex and Larry took the time and made the effort to explain WHY someone would get involved in scientology and what it offers and how things turn sour. So viewers can identify "oh, I can see how that could have been me" rather than "I would never fall for that shit." The proof of that is the standing ovation from the crowd when Alex asked those featured in the movie to join him at the front of the theater after the movie ended. And the dozens of people who walked up to me and others afterwards to thank us for our participation.
PARK CITY, Utah, Jan. 26 (UPI) -- A new documentary produced by HBO asserts the Church of Scientology consciously coordinated Tom Cruise's 2001 divorce from Nicole Kidman, and Cruise went as far as to wiretap Kidman's phone calls as the breakup played out.
According to Going Clear: Scientology & The Prison of Belief, the Academy Award-winning actress was never more than peripherally connected to her husband's religion as Kidman's late father was a highly regarded psychologist in her native Australia. Mental health practitioners were held in very low regard by Church of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, and that attitude has become culturally embedded in Scientology for some believers. Negative views about her father's career, coupled with the fledgling religion's investment in Cruise as spokesman led to Kidman being labeled a "PTS," short for "Potential Trouble Source" and defined as "a person who is in some way connected to and being adversely affected by a suppressive person."
The documentary, directed by Alex Gibney, asserts Kidman discouraged Cruise from over-involvement in Scientology between 1992 and 2001, and during the filming of Stanley Kubrik's Eyes Wide Shut actively distanced himself from the faith. According to Gibney, Scientology leader David Miscavige tapped then-second-in-command Marty Rathbun to manipulate Cruise into divorcing Kidman.
Gibney's film claims that Kidman, who was raised Catholic, convinced Cruise to distance himself from the Church of Scientology between 1992 and 2001, and that during the filming of Stanley Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut, Cruise wasn't returning Miscavige's phone calls, though Miscavige was one of Cruise's best pals and served as best man in his wedding to Kidman. Cruise's silence allegedly infuriated Miscavige, who then assigned Rathbun to the A-list couple.
"I was to facilitate the breakup with Nicole Kidman," Rathbun says in the film.
After the film let out and we were chatting with folks, one of our sources let us know that Scientology had posted videos of the people the church assumed were going to be in Alex Gibney's movie. Of those, they only got one right - Jason Beghe. The others - Jesse Prince, Garry Scarff, Graham Berry, Mark Fisher, and Karen de la Carriere - aren't in the movie at all.
Scientology had apparently assumed that because Lawrence Wright had talked to these people for his book, Alex Gibney would include them in his movie.
Wow, Scientology's advance intel was really bad.
Using Lawrence Wright's book of the same name as a starting point, Gibney tells the history of Scientology and L Ron Hubbard, as well as the rise to power of leader David Miscavage, here accused of the intimidation, beating, imprisonment, and slave labour of his followers. We see the religion struggle to be recognised as tax-exempt by the IRS and how former members of the church believe it is exploiting such status to stash billions of dollars in properties around the world.
"Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief" premiered Sunday at the Sundance Film Festival to a packed house - not with a star-studded red carpet, but with police protection.
A week before the premiere, the Church of Scientology took out full-page ads in the New York Times and Los Angeles Times claiming the documentary is filled with falsehoods.
Based on Lawrence Wright's 2013 book of the same name, Oscar winner Alex Gibney's film claims that the church routinely intimidates, manipulates and even tortures its members, tracing the rise of the religion and its founder, former science-fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard, and his successor as head of the church, David Miscavige. Gibney also interviewed several former Scientology believers, including past executives.
2014-01-26, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
The recent information from WUS resulted in one of our Special Correspondents forwarding this report about the EUS OT Committees to me.
It doesn't have stat grids, but what is lacks in numbers it more than makes up for with hype.
Some poor soul compiled this information to forward to "Int Management" (there is no such thing — there is no WDC. No Exec Strata. No ED Int. No Snr C/S Int. Warren MsShane testified recently that Heber is "President CSI though he is "semi-retired"). Trying to make themselves look as good as humanly possible, this report in a combination of inflated or made up bs and a LOT of omissions. It's harder to spot that they do not talk about how many people they got on the Bridge but instead talk about the number of WTH handed out.... but if you have this in mind when you read these summaries of QUARTERLY activities, it is starkly clear.
This documentary is an inside look at the Scientology Celebrity Centre. I begin by taking you on my journey from a fresh faced new actor who just arrived in Los Angeles, full of hopes and dreams, to ultimately being recruited into Hollywood's most dangerous, secretive, and famous cult. I'm bringing to light all of their horrible crimes, especially detailing how they exploit members financially. I talk about their elite Sea Organization, which makes members sign billion year contracts and devote their entire lives to serving Scientology as around the clock slave labor. I also publicly reveal how anti-gay the church is, bringing homophobia to a whole new level. I'm exposing the church and airing all of their dirty laundry!
For those of you not aware let me explain. Niall Delaney, our general manager and main current affairs host at Ocean FM, received an angry call from a listener last week giving out for the station having carried out 'a one sided interview promoting Scientology'.
Niall was more than a little shocked to put it mildly and said we had never carried out such an interview as no one at the station would even remotely consider promoting such a cult.
The plot thickened when the listener sent in a video made by Scientology Ireland which showed all the various activities the 'Church of Scientology Ireland' had been carrying out.
We have another fun collection of Scientology fliers for you this week. As usual, we're getting a glimpse into the church's unrelenting fundraising gimmicks.
But there's also some news here. One of our tipsters managed to snag for us a CCHR flier about this year's gala. The Citizens Commission on Human Rights is one of Scientology's oldest front groups, and it's engaged in a comical attack on the psychiatric profession. If you were with us last year, you may remember that we managed to obtain some CCHR fliers, but for some reason they never stated the time and place for the annual gala.
This time, for some reason CCHR was less shy.
On January 14, Kima Douglas died in Scottsdale, Arizona after fighting a battle with pancreatic necrosis. She was 70 years old.
Nothing was reported in the local media about her passing. And except for some Facebook testaments written by friends and family, there has been little notice online that she is gone.
But Kima Douglas was well known in the world of Scientology, and spent several years caring for L. Ron Hubbard as his nurse during some of the most difficult years that he ran the organization while on the run himself.
2012-01-26, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
The latest, and probably the last, chapter in the "Squirrel Buster" drama has been published in the February edition of Texas Monthly: the national magazine of Texas: His Town, by Jason Sheeler.
The link will take you to an excerpt of the beginning of the article. If you register below that (it is free), you can get access to the rest of the lengthy article.
For those who might have missed it, Corpus Christi Caller Times readers voted the SQB saga as the story of the year, and it too did a wrap up article a couple of weeks ago, Squirrel Busters Leave Ingleside on the Bay.
2012-01-26, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
I've got more than one hundred and fifty million reasons why Miscavige ought to watch his blustery, threatening step.
The following information gives the state of reserves of the Flag Service Organization Incorporated, as of December 2009. It is written by its highest ecclesiastical officer at that time. It was sent, as a similar report is sent weekly, directly to David Miscavige, Chairman of the BoardReligious Technology Center (the organization that is alleged not interested in stats or money in the slightest, but only in the purity of the application of the technology).
Please let us know how they respond to discovery as to what the FSO's liquid assets are; their ability to pay back what they hold for you; and perhaps in other contexts what the value of your services to them might have been worth. We'll provide you with more reports on how these balances changed over time along with unimpeachable witnesses to corroborate the information.
2011-01-26, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
Actually Dave delivered two custom tricked buses to Tom Cruise. There was the Silver Screen, see http://marty-rathbun.com/2011/01/09/a-tom-cruise-dream-comes-true-the-silver-screen/
And while the Silver Screen was in production, the Bluebird - a temporary custom tricked bus for Tom while he waited upon completion of Dave's slave labor force produced Silver Screen.
See the specifics below in another progress report to Miscavige.
William Rex Fowler was not present but was advised of the first-degree-murder charge against him over the telephone, said Krista Flannagan, spokeswoman for the Adams County district attorney's office.
Fowler is accused in the death of Thomas Ciancio, who investigators say was separating himself from the company owned by Fowler — Fowler Software Design.
Nevertheless, you can't say "Travolta" without adding "outspoken Scientologist," and that, inevitably, is where the story gets murky. Because along with all those desperately needed supplies that the dude graciously hauled down there, Travolta also packed something else - a phalanx of Scientology ministers.
Second Chance operated out of the Westside jail leasing the building from the city. However, the city says Second Chance owes money for back rent.
"The city may be owed rents anywhere as low as $10,000, as high as $90,000," said Pete Dinelli, Albuquerque's chief public safety officer.
"When they told me they were a human rights organization dealing with students," Hoskins said, "they never told me that they came out of the Church of Scientology."
After learning about the group's ties -- and that they believe psychiatry is responsible for the torture and deaths of numerous individuals -- Hoskins called the organizer and canceled his plans to speak at the exhibit Saturday.
"They misled me," Hoskins said.
On Monday, a group of hackers and activists calling themselves "Anonymous," posted a video message on YouTube addressed to the leaders of the Church of Scientology, accusing them of "campaigns of misinformation" and "suppression of dissent."
When Tom Cruise's pro-Scientology video rant made blogosphere headlines two weeks ago, not everyone saw a strange and incomprehensible fanatic. Darren Shearer, executive director of the Church of Scientology's new Mission of Riverdale, saw a crusader, someone who has put his neck on the line, in his - and the church's - battle for human rights. "We have these rights," he says, "and they're violated all the time by the psychiatric industry. I'm thrilled that someone with a such a large voice has stepped up to the plate."
Sitting in the serene, book-lined front room of the Mission, opened last fall in East Chinatown on Broadview, a block south of Gerrard, Mr. Shearer actually bears some resemblance to Mr. Cruise: He's clean-cut, fit, slightly boyish and wild-eyed. And, like Mr. Cruise, he possesses the same self-satisfaction that Scientology instills in its followers, an unshakeable belief in the church's abilities to solve the world's problems.
With residents of a Berlin neighborhood deeply unhappy about the opening of a new Scientology center, city officials have found a creative way of limiting the church's activity. Because Scientology is considered a business and not a church in Germany, it falls under the country's rigid Sunday closing law.
The Church of Scientology, long on the fringe of the Clearwater community, will roll out the red carpet at its Fort Harrison Hotel tonight, staging a black tie gala for the area's power elite.
And while several notables sent regrets, many others are going.
According to Kolender, Young's unauthorized checking was uncovered when Kolender received information on a man wanted by the FBI, Michael J. Meisner.
The FBI was notified when Young requested the information on Meisner, and agents called the lieutenant. Young told the agents Meisner had been stopped in San Diego on a routine traffic violation, Kolender said.
When Meisner was later arrested, the chief said, Meisner told the FBI that he never had been in San Diego. And when a federal grand jury in Washington subpoenaed Meisner's San Diego records - which were nonexistent - the internal investigation was begun.